Own­ing a prob­lem

Mayor says Spring­dale ought to own an­i­mal shel­ter

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - EDITORIAL PAGE -

Do your lo­cal elected of­fi­cials a fa­vor by sup­port­ing spay and neuter pro­grams. No, no, we don’t mean pro­grams aimed at the lo­cal elected of­fi­cials. Rather, we’re talk­ing about the kinds of pro­grams that can help re­duce the bur­den on lo­cal an­i­mal shel­ters.

It seems op­er­a­tion of lo­cal an­i­mal con­trol shel­ters is al­most con­stantly prompt­ing dis­cus­sions among city and county de­ci­sion-mak­ers. The lat­est, just the other day, came up as Spring­dale lead­ers dis­cussed hir­ing an ar­chi­tec­tural firm to de­sign a new an­i­mal shel­ter for the city.

The city an­tic­i­pates ask­ing vot­ers next year to ap­prove a new sales tax-backed bond pro­gram for a va­ri­ety of mu­nic­i­pal needs — a courts/po­lice com­plex, new fire sta­tions, a new park, road im­prove­ments and a new city-run an­i­mal shel­ter. If ap­proved, the pro­gram would con­tinue a sales tax vot­ers ap­proved back in 2004.

Spring­dale’s cur­rent an­i­mal shel­ter isn’t suf­fi­cient to han­dle the lo­cal de­mand, at least not well.

It seems al­most in­evitable in such dis­cus­sions that some­one will use the op­por­tu­nity to get out of the an­i­mal shel­ter busi­ness. Wash­ing­ton County of­fi­cials had to build their own an­i­mal shel­ter a few years ago af­ter the city of Fayet­teville went all xeno­pho­bic, if that term can be used to mean “an in­tense dis­like of an­i­mals from be­yond the city’s bor­der.” Maybe it’s xeno­cato­pho­bic?

In any case, Fayet­teville of­fi­cials de­cided to fo­cus money and time on deal­ing with the city’s own an­i­mal con­trol is­sues and told Wash­ing­ton County to find an­other so­lu­tion for its ru­ral an­i­mals. The county built its own shel­ter, and it’s been a thorn in the side of some Repub­li­can Quo­rum Court mem­bers ever since. Every time a dis­cus­sion about the bud­get comes up, some­one chimes in with a de­sire for the county to elim­i­nate or cut way back on its an­i­mal shel­ter. If a burlap sack was good enough for grand­pappy, it’s good enough for us, right?

So it was worth a chuckle (and a head shake) to read how Spring­dale City Coun­cil mem­ber Colby Fulfer re­sponded to talk of hir­ing the ar­chi­tect for a prospec­tive new shel­ter to serve his city. He sug­gested Spring­dale work out a deal with, of all places, Wash­ing­ton County to use its avail­able space to al­le­vi­ate Spring­dale’s ca­pac­ity is­sues. That, ac­cord­ing to shel­ter direc­tor Court­ney Kre­mer, amounts to about 2,500 a year.

Mayor Doug Sprouse of­fered up some dog­gone good ad­vice: “I think there’s cer­tain things you own and we’re bet­ter off own­ing this,” he said.

Hear, hear, Mayor Sprouse. Of course, he was talk­ing about own­er­ship of a fa­cil­ity, but he also could have been (and might have been) talk­ing about own­er­ship of a prob­lem. Tak­ing care of Spring­dale’s an­i­mal pop­u­la­tion in need is the city’s re­spon­si­bil­ity and its res­i­dents are best served by keep­ing con­trol over that func­tion, par­tic­u­larly given the sen­ti­ments one of­ten hears out of Wash­ing­ton County lead­ers when it comes to the county’s own re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and how to meet them.

It’s too early to say whether Spring­dale’s bond is­sue will be de­serv­ing of the pub­lic’s sup­port be­cause it’s still in the for­ma­tive stages. But it’s promis­ing to hear a mayor step up to face one of the chal­lenges fac­ing the city and take own­er­ship of it. That’s how prob­lems get solved.

And, oh yeah, ev­ery­one with pets can help ease the chal­lenges for the ci­ties and coun­ties by hav­ing their pets spayed or neutered, es­pe­cially those in the ru­ral ar­eas al­lowed to roam free.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.